Some low-income families and individuals will be able to better beat summer’s heat with Ameren’s gift of 50 window air conditioners to a county agency.
“Today we are going to be giving back to the community,” said Donna Bullock, supervisor of administration at Ameren Illinois’ Maryville office during a press conference at the utility’s Operating Center, 700 Oakwood Road.
“Customer safety is very important to Ameren,” Bullock said of why the company was donating the units to Madison County Community Development through its Ameren Cares program.
The county agency already has allocated the air conditioners to qualifying clients.
Recipients must meet low income criteria of being within 150 percent of poverty level and requirements of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Priority points go to the disabled, elderly, veterans, families with small children and those with heart or breathing conditions exacerbated by heat, said Walter Hunter, MCCD administrator.
“Our purpose is to deliver federal and state funds … and to do things to help our residents to live a more comfortable life and a more stable life,” Hunter said. “We’re tickled pink to get these air conditioners. We see many customers at poverty level or below” that need the units. “The summer months are brutal,” he said of the heat.
“We are so grateful to partner with Ameren Illinois on this important program,” Hunter said. “When the summertime heat and humidity goes up, there is only so much a box fan and keeping your windows open can do. This wonderful donation provided by Ameren Illinois is a blessing. It allows us to help individuals and families to stay cool this summer.”
“It means a lot for the well-being of elderly and disabled people and veterans” to get air conditioning, Alton Mayor Brant Walker said. “The summer can be brutal. It is important to get it in their homes and have them use it. It is a wonderful donation. Thank you guys so much, I know some of the air conditioners are going to my residents.”
Stacey Young, of Ameren, said generally each family will get one air conditioner, which is installed in a room they use the most.
Bullock was flanked by a neatly stacked wall of 50 boxes containing 6,000 BTU Frigidaire window units designed to cool a 250-square-foot space. She said Ameren is partnering with nine energy assistance agencies in its customer service area statewide to distribute 400 energy-efficient air conditioners.
The 400 air conditioners cost $62,000, Young said. The project is in its second year; in 2013, Ameren Illinois provided 300 units to six LIHEAP agencies.
Ameren staff provided kelly green T-shirts to attendees, including Hunter and Walker, who all loaded the air conditioners into a county-owned trailer for transport to Edwardsville. Hunter said the Community Development office will provide about 50 additional air conditioners to qualified clients who live in Madison County, but not in Ameren’s service area.
Anyone wanting more information on LIHEAP and the air conditioner program, should call Debbie Mehl between 9 a.m. and 2 pm. Monday through Thursday at 618-296-4452; or MCCD at 618-692-8940, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. week days.